The facility, to be constructed at a new Gönenli site in Akhisar, will produce infant nutritional formula for major global brands, and reduce the country’s reliance on imports. Production capacity is expected to be 13,800 tonnes per year, with the plant scheduled to be operational in March 2023.
Established in 2015, and headquartered in Ístanbul, Gönenli Süt is one of Turkey’s major contract dairy manufacturers. The firm’s existing plant, in Balıkesir, processes 800 tonnes per day of raw milk into cheese, UHT- and ESL- (extended shelf-life) milk, for global brands and for discount markets.
Besides many kinds of dairy products, Gönenli also focuses on high technology nutrition products and plant-based milk alternatives in cooperation with multinationals. Gönenli is the first dairy company in Turkey approved for enteral nutrition products manufacturing and pioneered local production for two of the existing three key multinationals dominating the Turkish market.
Rapid growth in both domestic and international milk markets has meant the existing plant could no longer meet demand. In 2019, Gönenli made the decision to expand and construct a new facility at the new site secured in Akhisar. The new facility will expand Gönenli’s capacity for processing UHT- and ESL-milk for existing and new customers around the world. For this part of the plant, GEA is supplying separators and a MVR1 (mechanical vapor recompression) evaporator.
The Akhisar facility will also produce the first domestic production of infant nutritional formula.
Zeki Sözen, president of Gönenli Dairy, said, “Infant formula production is critical for Turkey because it is all imported. While self-sufficiency for food is major concern for many nations, one can easily imagine the importance of infant formula.
“We believe this project will also be a success story and milestone for Turkish dairy industry for not only infant formula, but also many nutrition products manufacturing.”
A GEA MSD 500 spray dryer, with a capacity greater than 2,000 kg/h of powder, and TVR (thermal vapor recompression) evaporator systems (2TVR1, 8,000 kg/h), will process the infant formula.
GEA has worked with Gönenli since 2016, providing separator technology and equipment for UHT- and ESL-milk process lines at the Balikesir plant. In June 2021, GEA won the contract to design, configure and supply the infant milk powder processing part of the new plant at Akhisar.
The company has also selected GEA ‘Cyclone Extra Efficiency’ (CEE) cyclone equipment, which offers high powder separation efficiency, higher yield and lower emissions, to reduce the risk of smearing, cut attrition rates and potentially improve powder size and characteristics. Calculations made by GEA showed Gönenli Süt could reduce powder loss by 33 tons/year by selecting the CEE.